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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

hectares (8^059., 5 32 acres) an area equal to ail the arable land in England
and Wales had been distributed. These 3,250,295 hectares represented
half of all the farm lands of over 100 hectares owned either by the State,
private ownership or corporations in 1921. The greatest amount of land
was parcelled out in 1927 (245,087 hectares), that is, therefore, just after
the * Nieswiez Agreement' mentioned by Mr. Price.

Challenged by the Polish economists as to the accuracy of his figures, in
a letter to Free Europe Mr. Price admitted that there had been a printer's
error in Hansard, and that he had stated not 2,000 but 2,000,000 hectares.
Under such circumstances, therefore, his statement that the agrarian reforms
in Poland e hardly went any distance at all/ could be appraised in one way
only. Similar statements having as their aim to present Poland as a back-
ward and slowly progressing country., was along the usual lines of Soviet
propaganda.

The Poland of 1920-1939 may have been guilty of many omissions,
but to accuse her of being reluctant to perform social and economic reforms
proves that the author of such charges had not the slightest conception of
the reality of life in that country. After their liberation from beneath the
yoke of three Powers., the Polish people were anxious to place the new State
on the highest level possible, and,, endeavouring to do so, perhaps instituted
too many reforms at once. It was obvious that this country devastated by
wars could not afford to uphold all of them financially. Sir Patrick Dollan
wrote (The Labour Movement and the Polish Cause, Glasgow, 1945) in the
following terms :—

<£ What was said about (Poland) in 1920 and 1939, was that everybody in
Poland was living in a ' dictatorship.' We swallowed that dope here.
There was no dictatorship. The Trade Unions still flourished, the Co-
operative societies were maintained, the Parliamentary Parties went on
agitating and in many towns you had Socialist majorities.

" Let us look at the progress made by Poland in these twenty years. The
King of Norway said in my presence recently, in answer to a question as to
what he thought about the Beveridge Report, that he thought it was good
for Britain but it had been adopted in Norway 25 years ago. So might one
say that about Poland. I have made some study of industrial conditions
in Poland. Much of your social legislation was superior to ours—you have
15 days' holiday with pay, 7-hour working day, with 6J hours for men who
are working in the deepest mines.

" You have a maternity scheme, child welfare, old age pensions, hospitals
and many other provisions that other countries would like to adopt, and
envy you for having operated them successfully. All this was done for a
country which had to suffer over 130 years of partition and despotism and
was denied any expression of language and culture.

" The best illustration I know of the progress made by Poland is Lodz.
There are 600,000 people living in Lodz. In 1919 there was no drainage,
no water supply, no amenities, no pavements, and that is how you were
living under Russian occupation. Within 20 years, however, you had
turned that city over and given it modem services. In my city of Glasgow
there are still 400,000 people living in one or two-roomed apartment houses
that do not provide modern sanitary arrangements.

"... Poland was the only country to honour every Charter of the Inter-
national Labour Office, in advance of other countries."

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